Why I’ve Been Missing And Face Reveal….
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Did I get you excited with that clickbait title? Awesome. Now let me disappoint you — I’m kidding about the face reveal part. Well, sort of. Here’s a photo of my eye to help satisfy the super-sleuths out there constantly trying to hunt down my identity. :p
First and foremost, I apologize for my absence. I owe everyone an explanation and that’s what this article will be about. This is probably the most important blog post I’ve ever written (yes, even more so than the fungal acne guide), so I urge you to please please stick around and read it in its entirety.
Table of Contents
- 1 Once Upon A Time…
- 2 But People Are Silly.
- 3 How the hell does this all relate to your disappearance, f.c.?
- 4 Want to Subscribe for Updates?
Once Upon A Time…
So what’s been going on? Why did I disappear?
It all started on New Years Eve / Day. I was feeling very alone because a few days prior a friend of mine asked me to answer the following question: “Are you more relationship or goal-oriented?”
It made me realize, and I hate to admit this, that I have often been more goal vs. relationship-oriented in my life when I wish the reverse were true. It caused a light-bulb moment to go off in my head, and I suddenly realized why I’ve had little to no motivation to write, or do much of anything.
You see, everything in life always goes back to one central theme: am I being honest with myself?
It is the crux of Brené Brown’s monumental sociological research on vulnerability, which in my opinion is the most profound data on human psychology to date. If you have no idea what the hell I’m talking about, here is a good place to start. If you’re too lazy to watch that video, I’ll give you a VERY brief summary of what it’s about.
We can essentially compartmentalize people into two categories: the happy and the not so happy. Those that live a life of meaning, wholeheartedness, belonging, purpose, etc. and those that don’t. And the only variable that separates the two is vulnerability.
In other words, if you want your life to be rad as hell, all you gotta do is one simple thing. Wear your heart on your sleeve. And do it unapologetically.
Don’t hide or allow any disconnect between what is in your heart (i.e. what you think / feel) and what you show the world. In short, be yourself and speak honestly about it.
Maybe you’re confused and wondering what that looks like in practice / reality. Here are a couple examples of vulnerability to help give you an idea:
It means telling a woman you are crazy about her even though it might scare and drive her away. It means expressing an unpopular opinion in a room of people who might disagree. It means asking for help because we can’t do it alone. It means apologizing and admitting we were wrong. It means coming out to your parents.
It means showing we are imperfect and make mistakes. It means asking your boss for a raise because you think you deserve it. It means saying “I don’t know” when we don’t have all the answers. It means that honesty is the best policy. It means making eye contact with someone when you got a face full of acne etc.
These aren’t easy things to do, but it’s a necessary space we must go into if we ever expect to get what we want out of life. Why?
Because we miss 100% of the shots we don’t take. How will we ever get the things we want if we aren’t taking risks? If we’re hiding behind masks and refusing to enter the arena where these things are birthed in the first place?
The sum goal of life should be to have as little “what ifs” possible when death comes a-knocking. :p And to do that, we have to slap fear upside the head and be vulnerable.
“Courage is to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.”—Brené Brown
“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant. There is no such thing. Making the unknown known is what’s important.”—Georgia O’Keeffe
Make sense? Cool.
But People Are Silly.
“We all have our ‘superhero capes.’ Ways of pretending so our real tender selves don’t have to be seen and can’t be hurt. They deflect every good and bad thing off of them, and keep us from having to feel much at all.”—Glennon Doyle Melton, Lessons from the Mental Hospital | TED Talk
Unfortunately, being vulnerable is easier said than done, so there are ALL KINDS of ways that people avoid doing it. I won’t cover them all because that would take too long, but here are a few common examples:
In other words, criticizing others because we don’t want to own up to our own sh*t.
Or trying to act all cool, calm, and collected and like nothing phases us. Pffft, please. We aren’t fooling anyone.
“I know that the number one rule to being cool is to seem unfazed, to never admit that anything scares you or impresses you or excites you. Somebody once told me it’s like walking through life like this.
*Puts arms up like a boxer*
You protect yourself from all the unexpected miseries or hurt that might show up. But I try to walk through life like this.
*Opens up the palms of her hands*
And yes, that means catching all of those miseries and hurt, but it also means that when beautiful, amazing things just fall out of the sky, I’m ready to catch them.
I use spoken word (poetry) to rediscover wonder, to fight my instincts to be cool and unfazed and, instead, actively pursue being engaged with what goes on around me, so that I can reinterpret and create something from it.”—Sarah Kay, If I Should Have A Daughter | Ted Talk
A.k.a. dodging conflict, discomfort, or possible confrontation outta fear of being hurt or hurting someone else (ironically, this just causes more pain to the people we’re avoiding). I’m looking at all those who engage in ghosting, icing, and simmering. Shake my head. -_-
This manifests as everything from pretending to be something we’re not, to embellishing stories about hardship / victimizing ourselves because it’s the easy way to get comfort outta somebody.
Embracing whatever deadens the pain or discomfort we feel inside. This can be done through stuff like drugs, alcohol, or even WILD ORGIES.
There’s your risky click of the day. Can I be trusted? O_o
This sounds counter-intuitive, but oversharing is actually a way of not authentically being vulnerable! Biggest example I can give you is social media.
It’s very easy to think we can seek validation by posting about our lives on instagram, facebook, twitter, snapchat etc. But the truth is that likes on a screen are lifeless, and they’re not gonna bring us the fulfillment we’re longing for.
Speaking of social media….
Excessive use of instagram, reddit, youtube, or even netflix, shopping, being a workalcoholic etc., can all be signs that we’re running away from emotions we gotta sift through.
In other words, trying to make yourself bulletproof. Thinking that you are going to become such a motherf*ckin’ badass with all your accolades and accomplishments that people will just sniff the OG-status off you and want to befriend you. Physician and addiction-specialist Gabor Maté said it best, “if they don’t want me, at least they’re going to need me.”
That’s all perfectionism really is when you examine it closely: a deep-rooted desire to belong and be admired. It’s something that’s particularly rampant in the beauty space. I’ll give you one example. “If I just add ONE MORE product to this 10-step Korean beauty routine I will finally have glowing skin, and that boy or girl will notice me!”
Hint: sexy fades, but an awesome personality lasts forever. 😉
And here’s the harsh reality — you are never going to be perfect. Perfection doesn’t exist, and chasing it is only a detour on the path of you becoming real and honest. Nobody wants the perfect you anyway. It’s not relatable.
Besides, I can guarantee that the people who only want the bulletproof version of you aren’t there for the right reasons.
There’s a famous quote from the movie Almost Famous that said it best, “the only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.” So seriously, be uncool, be vulnerable. The RIGHT people will love you for it! And those that don’t can f*ck off. Just kidding…. don’t be mean.
And now for some poetry 😍 to really drive the point home!
“Let someone love you just the way you are – as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as unaccomplished as you think you are. To believe that you must hide all the parts of you that are broken, out of fear that someone else is incapable of loving what is less than perfect, is to believe that sunlight is incapable of entering a broken window and illuminating a dark room.”—Marc Chernoff
In other words, if you show someone the vulnerable side of yourself and they do not express gratitude for its presence: walk away. Because that person is too small to understand your heart, and does not belong there.
Have enough self-respect to understand that your happiness is not tied down to one person or thing. “We accept the love we think we deserve.” And friend, you are much too whole to be loved in halves.
Last but not least, what I’m most guilty of….
“Everyone just wants peace of mind and that’s not something you can give yourself.”—Brittany, a fellow reader of this blog 🙂
“Wanting to be alone” is really just a way of trying to protect our hearts; a way of mitigating potential hurt from the outside world by refusing to let people in. We do this for many reasons, but the two most common are fear of intimacy (what if I get my heart broken again?) and thinking we won’t be good enough (insecurity).
Note: isolation can also be fueled by narcissism, i.e. a belief that those around us aren’t worthy enough prospects to be let into our inner lives.
Oftentimes, isolation / loneliness go hand in hand with trying to become bulletproof. We spend so much time alone “focusing on ourselves” thinking it will make people like us more. For some, it can even become a revenge plot!
“Just wait until that person who f*cked me over realizes what they lost cause I’m fittin’ to be a RAMBO.”
Ours is a culture that views self-reliance as a virtue, and it’s one of the most perverse lies we are told. As Nayyirah Waheed beautifully put it in her poem titled acceptance: “we are never our own. we must change this fact.”
In other words, do not “focus on yourself.” Focus on other people. “Serve those who serve others, and you will live a life of joy and fulfillment.”—Simon Sinek, Oliver Scholars Keynote Speech
Case in point: this blog was made for you not me. I could have easily kept everything I learned to myself. But life’s only fun when we’re doing it together. Happiness is best shared with others, as they say.
And I mean seriously dude, when have you ever been inspired by a person who only cared about themselves? Never. We are inspired by the people who take up space and fill it with more ballsy amounts of love than seems sensible.
“Humility isn’t about thinking less of yourself, it’s about thinking of yourself less…. That advice has given me a spectacular disregard for where my abilities end, and a spectacular disregard for being the center of attention. In fact, [since the day I heard that] I’ve never been the center of attention: you’re the center of mine. And that’s a vastly different feeling.”—Caroline McHugh, The Art of Being Yourself | TED Talk
I always thought that if I “focused on myself,” everything would fall into place. But the opposite is true. To feel wholehearted, you gotta become the most selfless version of yourself towards the people around you. Give more than you take, and expect less.
It may not always be easy, and sometimes it downright hurts. You may even get your heart broken a few times, but it’s “better to have loved and lost than never have loved at all.”—Alfred Lord Tennyson
You may be asking yourself, “why even bother? This sounds like too much work.” I’ll let Brené Brown explain that herself:
“Here’s the very worst news from my research. The news that above all other, I did not want to hear. And I don’t even want to say it to you because I think it’s mean to say, but it’s so true: our capacity for wholeheartedness can never be greater than our willingness to be broken-hearted.”
Ouch. I remember wincing the first time I heard that. And somedays I still hate her for planting that seed of truth in my heart, because it is the reason my chest has collapsed on me so many times. But she’s right. And there’s no denying it.
So we just gotta keep showing up cause it’s the bravest thing we can do. I’m just a person on a journey of pain with the baggage of a spirit that’ll never give up. I think all of us are. Because deep down inside we know that the world can never have too much softness.
The following quote is an excerpt from Margery Williams’ children’s book, The Velveteen Rabbit. I probably read this every day, and try to think of it as the mantra of life:
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
How the hell does this all relate to your disappearance, f.c.?
Great question! Now that I’ve rambled on for long enough let me answer that. :p
Because I realized being more goal vs. relationship-oriented was my way of trying to become bulletproof. And to make matters worse, when I wasn’t busy being a workaholic in isolation I was putting my effort into the wrong relationships… but that’s another story.
Point is, I needed some time away to try and problem-solve my life. I still don’t have all the answers, but I’m trying to get better at asking for help. That’s always been very hard for me. Thanks Dad.
Anyway, I think that does it for this blog post. There’s a lot more I wanted to say, but WHAT THE HELL I thought this was a skincare blog….
Hopefully I said something that resonated with you. I’ll leave everyone with a poem that I think epitomizes the journey of vulnerability.
Love this post, f. c.! I’ve been with your blog since close to the beginning and this is one of my favorites. Here’s to a life of living more authentically!
Just over here crying at my desk, DON’T MIND ME! What a beautiful post F.C.
Thank you for your vulnerability.
What an eloquent and insightful post, f.c. It’s so easy to focus years of time, energy and resources into dealing/managing/correcting/perfecting skincare issues, without realizing the negative emotional and mental health toll it can take. Acne/skin problems can begin as early as 12 and 13 years of age, and persist for years. It’s only understandable that for many people, the social stigma of acne remaining constant throughout these formative years (and well into your 20’s and 30’s) could significantly alter/aggregate our own defense mechanisms (and thus impact our ability to live vulnerably). Thank you for this post, and all your other posts. Sharing is caring xo
I’m crying. This world surely needs more people like you.
Wow definitely food for thought, especially this part:
In other words, do not “focus on yourself.” Focus on other people. “Serve those who serve others, and you will live a life of joy and fulfillment.”—Simon Sinek, Oliver Scholars Keynote Speech
Its tough to get the balance right, and I am guilty of swinging too much one way or the other in regards to focus.
I see the overemphasis on “focusing on yourself” as a kind of emotional isolation, rather than a physically observable one. Most counselors I’ve been to, and self help books I have read stress the importance of “put yourself first”, but that has not led to happiness. It is not in line with what I have found to be best, which is to love others just a bit more than we love ourselves, and like you said “give more than you take”.
So yes, this view is heretical, but something I always think about when trying to measure out how well truths hold up is this:
Wisdom is vindicated by its results. Simple.
I can assure anyone, through my experience, that there is more joy in giving than in receiving. The “balance” is not a perfect balance….it tilts a bit more to the love others side than the love yourself side. I’m 100% sure of it. Anyone can fight me on it 😀 hehe
Lol I literally used to call my mom Rambo because she was so hard for so many years.
I did the Rambo mode thing today and it was one of the worst days of my entire life. Ramboism sucks dude.
I think its like a control tactic, but it turns everything and everyone into an opponent who may undermine our tenaciously held “independence” and leads to MORE stress…and rage.:(
I guess we are just all learning and growing and what better way to do so more efficiently than to share with others, so that we can in turn inspire them to share with us (if they are so willing). We will just keep getting better and better as time moves forward and apply values more readily as we solidify them through experience. 🙂
Honestly, being in contact with you made me less hard on myself. Making mistakes is ok! Pretty sure we all screw up every single day and it’s only with the right attitude that we learn from it (e.g. honest introspection and vulnerability vs. shitty things like numbing, lying, self-deception). The making of mistakes is not a choice; the learning is a choice!
Thanks f.c. for being bold and sharing your knowledge, and for directing me here. I’ve been humbled.
p.s. You sure know how to get a girl with a classic rick-roll. sly move 😉 :p…and hello to your eye hhahah 🙂
i wrote a poem after reading this and i thought you might like to read it
nothing is more unpleasant
than the sleepless brain at night
nostalgia is a liar
that makes you pine over people
you thought you needed to survive
humans see the sky as blue
in reality it’s colored black
the earth is spherical
but was once thought of as flat
there are many things we think we know
but as you grow you’ll find
the things we think that matter
aren’t really worth your piece of mind
i love your mentality. and this post.
thanks 4 sharing again f.c. i never take your work for granted.
I’ve been following your blog for a long time and it was essentially where I started my skincare journey. While this would perhaps have been even better for me to read around 2 years ago, it truly resonates now too as I try to break free of the process of “investing” more and more into my appearance to boost my self esteem. Social media has made things so complicated. Anyway, thank you for all your efforts!
I’ve always tried to live my life in a vulnerable fashion, but recently I’ve been failing. Five years ago I became deeply attached to someone, but it never worked. Our relationship, for the most part, was a very slow, painful loss. I grieved for the longest time, but then it became too much to think about. Now all I do is distract myself with Reddit, product research, and studying. I’ve forgotten how going through those emotions is not only important, but healthy. Thank you for reminding me to not let myself become numb.
I’m crying! 😢 WHY AM I CRYING?!?! Obviously, you touched a nerve…guess i need to examine some sore spots in my life. Also, I don’t like poetry. Most of it goes over my head. But I like the poems that you refrence and how they illustrate your points beautifully…and don’t make me feel dumb or confused after reading them. I’ve only been following you since November (& not for myself but to try and help my daughter) but I’m so glad i found you. Thanks for everything and take care. 💖
Thank you so much for this and for your entire blog. All of your readers are so blessed to have had your selflessness and knowledge shared with us.
*Thwack* That was for not answering my email. Been worried sick about ya, you damnfoolyankee.
*HUG* That is for the most beautiful speech on being human I’ve read in years.
“Knowing love, I can allow all things to come and go, to be as supple as the wind and to face all things with great courage….My heart is a open as the sky…”
Hey! You saved my life. I was so depressed because of three years acne. But in one week I have a miracle because of your blog.
You can not imagine how important your blog is. Thank you. And keep going on people’s life <3 <3 <3
You’re really such an inspiration, thank you for this lovely post. <3 And thank you for all the hard work, dedication, and love you've put forth on this blog! In a strange way, I'm GLAD my skin decided to revolt against me this past year because it led me here! I hope your journey towards living an honest and vulnerable life brings you joy and fulfilment — if you want to listen to a very smart person talk about living honestly, I'd highly recommend looking into Dr. Jordan Peterson 🙂 I also hope you bring us along on that journey so we can grow with you! Again, thank you. <3 This is truly one of my favorite blogs, even more so after this post~
This reminds me of something I wrote in my journal a year ago: “the key to potential happiness, and certain sadness, is vulnerability. Appreciate your friends– how privileged you feel to know them; and how thankful you are that they have given you the courage to be yourself. Harness that courage and give it to others liberally; don’t hold back, and you know that some people will think that you’re strange, but the rare people that understand will accept you with arms wide open, because they know that life is more valuable when we can be true to ourselves. Many people have convinced themselves that they’re distant and unfeeling, untouched by human connection, but there’s no strength or merit in being cold. Vulnerability all the way, retain your warmth in this crazy world, and keep giving”.
The people that matter and that share your view will always gravitate towards you, and along the way you are unconsciously giving courage to those who have disguised themselves as cold, and someday an incident, a moment or a spark or something might penetrate through their icy walls, and they will understand the importance & the freedom of being transparent & breakable. But also, I’ve told myself not to spend too much time with those people who are cold & unbreakable, bc sometimes people are just a*sholes and probably always will be.
I only found your blog a few months ago, and the value of it has been truly indispensable to me. I only wish that I could have found it sooner, as my battle with seb derm cost me a lot of heartache and time and a collection of unused products, because I had no idea what was making my skin so upset. But my skin has improved (not perfect, but I don’t expect it to be), and I think the way that I talk to my skin has been a bit more.. selective. Less: “Why me? Why is nothing working? Why do I gotta suffer through this on top of everything else? Why does everything have shea butter in it that makes my sebderm so annoyed?!?!” and looking at it more rationally: “You’re doing way better than you were a year ago, and you know more than you did 6 months ago, and your skin looks just fine. Stop punishing yourself for not achieving an unattainable goal of perfection. It doesn’t exist.”
So yeah, thank you so much for everything. I love these blogposts. You’re very informative & coherent, which has really helped me to understand my condition, and I really enjoy your small, funny personal anecdotes coming through. And then of course these blogposts with such insightful thoughts. I really appreciate everything. Thank you so much for it all 🙂
I wept reading this. Thank you for sharing yourself with us. I’m a first time commenter but longtime reader. I so appreciate the oasis of truth you’ve created in what sometimes feels like an endless wasteland of skincare lies.
I’m so glad that I’ve dropped by to this blog. It feels so surreal to hear someone who can “expound” everything that’s inside my heart right now. As what I’ve told you in my recent comments, I can see your overflowing passion as if you found out your true purpose in life and that’s make me inspired to believe in myself. To be myself even more.
To be honest, I am still in my constant search to find my real Self. I’ve living my life in putting a lot of makeup in my face (makeup is my symbolism for concealing my true Self to look appealing and seek approval in people). I know I’m still scared to be as vulnerable as I have to because I have so many shits in me and people who took the shit out of me in the past. It was too bad that I even came out to the point that I trust no one, putting a wall larger than life.
It hits my heart really hard all the words you’ve said and the quotes you put on your post but at the same time, it also became a light in a dark cave that I’m in and I want to seek that light in order for me to be finally free and to find the true happiness that I deserve.
Thank God I’ve found you. You saved my life, today, exactly today, and I believe in the power of fate and destiny that made me here commenting on your post right now. Everything happens has a purpose, indeed. ❤❤❤❤
Everything about this. Love.
Agree, authentically: you! Now please assess rosacea as your new found ‘awkward cousin’ to acne. They’ ARE friends and address a demographic that is probably willing to pay for real solutions. Just saying here with mature red cheeks…
I’m speechless. Thank you for this post.
SO good! <3 !!!!!
I don’t comment a lot since I’m not very eloquent. But heck, this post hits home… I wanted to at least say thank you for sharing it.
I’ll be thinking of this post a lot.